Mhel's Top 10 Tools for Elevating Your Letters

Mhel's Top 10 Tools for Elevating Your Letters

Personalizing and handwriting a letter, postcard, or birthday message makes a gift extra special for a loved one. Of course, the use of nice handwriting and colorful pens makes them even better! What you might not know is that the type of pen you use can make all the difference with lettering. That's why we asked Mhel (@letteringbymhel) for her recommendations on what to use when lettering.

She says, "When I was a beginner, I found it mind-boggling to find the best tools for starting my lettering journey. There are an overwhelming amount of tools available to choose from and I had no idea where to start. I wish someone made a list to tell me which tools are perfect for beginners, exploring creative techniques, and learning new lettering styles. 

To save you some frustration and time, I've provided you my top 10 tools for elevating your letters. In this list, you'll find pens that are best for small lettering, large lettering, techniques such as blending and even satisfying shimmery effects. 

As you read my list, there is one thing all the tools have in common and that is durability. I've owned all these pens for at least a year or more and I can confirm that these are long-lasting quality tools. Let's get started!”

Creator Image
Mhelanie
Lettering Artist
  • Tombow
    Fudenosuke Colors Brush Pens


    Mhelanie

    Tombow Fudenosuke is a wonderful brush pen for novice and advanced lettering artists. The nib creates fine lines with a light hand and thicker strokes with heavier pressure. I'd recommend this pen for beginners. Since the Fudenosuke has a smaller and firm nib, novice lettering artists can control the brush pen better. 


    This pen is also great for smaller lettering on gift tags, cards, envelopes, bullet journaling, and more. Additionally, it's slim and small enough to carry in your bag or pocket. It even fits most notebook elastic loop pen holders! 


    While I'd prefer to use smoother paper for this pen, I'm happy to say the nib does not fray easily. It also comes in a variety of colors, so you can pick your favorite!

  • Pentel
    Arts Sign Pen Touch


    Mhelanie

    The Pentel Sign Brush Pen is definitely on the top of my favorite brush pen list. Even with slightly shaky hands, this pen makes your strokes so smooth that it'll make your writing look like a pro's. For this reason, the Pentel Sign Brush Pen is my favorite for flourishing - a style with loops and swirls added to some letters.


    Like the Tombow Fudenosuke, the Sign Brush Pen is also water-based and has a felt nib. The set comes in many colors and they are blendable too!


    Here's a fun blending technique to try with them: connect a dark-colored and light-colored pen together and watch the ink bleed to the lighter pen. Then write with the lighter-colored pen and watch the blended color appear; don't worry, the nib is durable and it does not stain easily.

  • Zebra Pen
    Lettering Set


    Mhelanie

    If you're looking for a pen that makes your thin strokes super fine, then this is the brush pen for you. The lettering set comes with hard tip brush pens that are easy to control and make thin lines. I love using them for smaller lettering projects. 


    More than that, the Zebra Lettering Set also comes with Funwari brush pens in several colors; I like to get creative by switching the colors for each letter and having fun with it. 


    They are also easily blendable! Use a water-brush with a small amount of water alongside these pens and watch the colors blend like magic. The lettering set comes with six Funwari small brush pens and six mildliner highlighters.

  • Karin
    Brushmarker PRO Mega Box


    Mhelanie

    The Karin Brushmarkers Pro Set has my all-time favorite brush pens for larger lettering projects. They can do just about anything! They're great for lettering and watercolor and the design is amazing. The nib is a flexible nylon tip that accommodates enough bounce to do thin to really thick strokes, too. 


    My favorite lettering technique with these pens is blending. The best way to blend the colors is by using a slightly wet paintbrush. The colors mix beautifully and blend the same way standard watercolors do. The blender brush pens work too, but sometimes they leave some streaks. 


    You can draw with the markers and use a wet paintbrush to mix the colors to get an amazing watercolor effect. For my fellow left-handed friends, the ink is very wet and easy to smudge, so make sure to letter slower to let the ink dry before you place your hand on the written areas. Using watercolor paper helps too since it soaks the ink quicker.

  • Karin
    Deco Brush Markers Metallic


    Mhelanie

    Karin also has a metallic brush pen set, the Karin Deco Brush. The set includes 10 colors, including gold, silver, and copper. I love the metallic shine these brush pens produce. The best part, however, is that these markers work on colored and black cardstock paper. 


    The colors look so vibrant and opaque on the black background which is one of the reasons the Deco Brush set is on the top of my list. These pens are also paint pens which means they are permanent and can be used on other surfaces such as wood, ceramic, glass, and more.

  • Tombow
    Dual Brush Pen Art Markers


    Mhelanie

    The Tombow Dual Brush Pens were my first brush pen set - I actually learned the lettering fundamentals with these! They are much easier to control compared to other large nib pens and they are great for larger lettering.


    Once I was comfortable with the lettering basics, I enjoyed endless creativity with these brush pens. I especially love how the set comes in 108 colors!


    Additionally, one side of the pen is a felt-tip brush nib and the other end is a fine tip, so having two options in one pen allows artists to add details without needing extra tools, which I found really convenient. I would recommend using marker paper or smooth cardstock to prevent fraying the brush tip and make them last over time.

  • Pentel
    Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips


    Mhelanie

    Once you're comfortable lettering using brush pens with a felt tip, I encourage you to try watercolor lettering. Instead of using a standard watercolor brush, I like using the Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush. To use it, you first add water inside the barrel and as you put the pen to paper, the water slowly drips to the brush end and mixes with ink to create a color stain. 


    Having a water brush pen allows me to do watercolor lettering and painting outside of my art room. It's portable, convenient, and less of a hassle to use compared to regular watercolor brushes since I get to carry fewer tools when I'm on the go. 


    The set comes in four brush sizes: bold, medium, fine point, and flat. I like to use these water brushes with liquid watercolor ink, though a watercolor palette works great too!

  • EcoLine
    Liquid Watercolor


    Mhelanie

    Ecoline Liquid Watercolors come in a set of 10 beautiful and bold colors and are a dream to work with. I love using these inks with my Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush, which I talked about above. For a colorful and creative technique, try using a different color ink for each letter. 


    Once dried, the liquid watercolor gives your letters a nice and vibrant watercolor effect! As mentioned above, you can use them with a water brush, but traditional watercolor brushes work too. You can even dip your brush pens in this ink for a unique color blending finish.

  • Sakura
    Gelly Roll Glaze Pen


    Mhelanie

    Did you know you can use gel pens for lettering? The Sakura Glaze Pens are some of my favorite gel pens to use. They give a unique 3D, shiny, and wet effect to your letters even after the ink has dried. Every time I use this set, my viewers are always amazed at the results. 


    These are also water-resistant so feel free to get creative and add a watercolor background even after you've finished your lettering. They provide a wonderful wow factor and they're great for monoline lettering (no thick or thin variation) or faux calligraphy (a technique where you draw the thick and thin variations using standard pens.)

  • Sakura
    Stardust Galaxy Pen Set


    Mhelanie

    Another Sakura set I truly enjoy is the Sakura Stardust Gel Pens set. These pens are so shimmery and beautiful! They write on light and dark paper which means there are endless possibilities for how to use them in lettering. I personally love making cards and tags with the set. 


    Plus, I also enjoy using the Stardust pens for adding shimmery details on my art pieces, such as stars and rainbows. The ink flows well and is very easy to use! I recommend using smooth textured paper for the best glitter effect.